Acoustics (2)

Dear Fellow Horn Players,

I am a 13-year-old junior high student (so please be patient with me, please) and have enjoyed playing the horn for 6 years. Recently our science teacher gave us an assignment requiring us to come up with an experiment, do trials, make tables and graphs, etc. I decided to use my horn (since I love it so much) in my experiment.

Still, in order to conduct a successful experiment, one must obtain information on the subject/s which you are experimenting. I've surfed the web near and far, looked in encyclopedias, and still am unable to find the needed information. Can anyone help me? I need to basically have detailed answers to the following questions:

  • How do sound waves behave when a note is sharp or flat?
  • How do sound waves behave when a note is changing from sharp to flat or vice versa?
  • How do sound waves behave in rooms of different volume (say, a concert hall and a practice room, for example)?
I might come up with more questions later. Thanks for your help!
-Z
Dear Z,

I suggest going to your local library and look for books regarding acoustical physics. They should be able to help you find general information on how any instrument cuz in a sense all instruments work very much the same in that respect. But to quickly answer your questions in a laypersons way, I guess you would have to think of it this way, the slower the air travels, the flatter the note is going to be, the longer the pipe is, the lower and more flatter the note will be and vice versa. That's usually why trumpets and flutes have a tough time flattening their sound and a tuba has problems sharpening a sound. Sound waves go smaller and faster when notes are sharpened and go bigger and slower when they are flattened. For you're third guestion it all depends on where the sound bounces off, a small room will have a quicker response time due to the fact that the waves have a shorter distance, but it can really make you sound bad and sharp, kinda like a mute or when you stop the horn with your hand, in a way the room is like an extension of this pipe thing I was talking about. But the best thing for you is to go get a book on acoustical physics and try to apply it to your horn project in how this would affect the horn's sound.

M Coco
M Coco wrote some stuff which is partially quoted further down in this message.

IT IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!

The only good advice there is to look in a book on acoustics. The speed of sound does NOT depend on the pitch or amplitude of the sound. For our purposes it is constant.

Yesterday, I contacted our young friend Zyta with some information and suggestions, and will not repeat that here on the list. I suggested that Zyta find and read Arthur Benade's book, "Horns, Strings and Harmony." I very strongly suggest that M Coco do the same. It is an excellent book

For our younger listers, here are some basic facts:

  1. Sound is waves of pressure traveling through the air.
  2. Higher pitch (sharper) corresponds to higher frequency/shorter wavelength (frequency is the number of vibrations per second, and wavelength is the the distance between two successive peaks or troughs of pressure).
  3. Lower pitch (flatter) corresponds to lower frequency/longer wavelength.
  4. frequency times wavelength (F * L) = speed of sound, about 1087 feet/sec.
  5. Louder corresponds to greater difference in pressure between minima and maxima.

I quote here two excerpts from M Coco's message:

I suggest going to your local library and look for books regarding acoustical physics. They should be able to help you find general information on how any instrument cuz in a sense all instruments work very much the same in that respect.
That is a GOOD SUGGESTION, and the statement is absolutely true.
But to quickly answer your questions in a laypersons way, I guess you would have to think of it this way, the slower the air travels, the flatter the note is going to be...
and so on. That is WRONG!!!

Said layperson is incorrectly informed.

M Coco, sorry if I've hurt your feelings, but this egregious misinformation had to be put right. I will be glad to answer questions which you might have. In addition, there are others on the horn list who are more qualified than I to explain the physics of acoustics.

Richard Berthelsdorf, Ph.D. (physics)
Richard, nowhere in the quote you provided does M Coco say anything about SOUND traveling faster or slower. All I saw was a reference to AIR travelling faster or slower, resulting in a sharper or flatter pitch. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Jerry Houston
Still, in order to conduct a successful experiment, one must obtain information on the subject/s which you are experimenting. I've surfed the web near and far, looked in encyclopedias, and still am unable to find the needed information.
Here are some publications that you may be able to find in your library:
----------------

Fasman, Mark J.  

Brass bibliography : sources on the history, literature, pedagogy,
performance, and acoustics of brass instruments
ML128.W5 F3 1990 
------------------

Backus, John

The acoustical foundations of music
ML3805.B245 A3 1977 
-----------------------

Benade, Arthur H. 

Fundamentals of musical acoustics
ML3805 .B328 

Horns, strings, and harmony
ML3805 .B33 
--------------------------

These days your library probably has some kind of computerized card catalog that you could search. For example, I just searched for 'Architectural Acoustics' in my library and got 48 hits.

Charles Turner
I would suggest getting in touch with Bruce Heim at Louisiana State University.
He did is dissertation on Acoustics.

just a thought. If I find his e-mail I'll post it.

much regards

darrel dartez
I received a private message in response to my last post, saying:
Your description implies that sound is a transverse wave, rather than a lateral wave. I know the definitions still apply, but you might wanna clear that up ;-)
OK, I'll try to clear this up, since apparently more than one person is confused.

Sound is not a transverse wave, nor is it a lateral wave.
Sound is a longitudinal mechanical wave.
What does this mean?

Here's a loose quote from an introductory physics book, which might help: Imagine a piston at one end of a long tube filled with air. If we push the piston forward, the layers of air in front of it are compressed. These layers in turn will compress layers further along the tube, and a wave of compression travels down the tube. If we quickly withdraw the piston, the layers of air in front of it expand and a pulse of rarefaction travels down the tube from layer to layer. If the piston oscillates back and forth, a continuous train of compressions and rarefactions will travel along the tube. This is a longitudinal wave train - sound. The particles of the medium (air) are traveling back and forth along the direction of sound propagation, that is, in a longitudinal direction.

Let's do another little thought-experiment. Suppose there is a source of sound producing a concert A (440 Hz). Now freeze time, and measure the air pressure along a line between the sound source and a listener. Starting at some point where the pressure is highest, as you move either backward or forward from that point, you will find that the pressure decreases until it is lowest about 15 inches from the high pressure point. From there, the pressure will increase again, until it reaches a high point just under 30 inches (the wavelength of 440 Hz from the original starting point.

So what's a transverse wave?
Imagine a vibrating violin string. In this case, the particles of the medium (sections of the string) travel from side to side at right angles to the direction of wave propagation (which is along the length of the string), that is, in a transverse direction. The waves you see on the string are transverse waves. As the string vibrates, it pushes on the surrounding air just like the piston mentioned above, generating the longitudinal pressure waves of sound.

You can make both kinds of waves with a Slinky.
Shake one end from side to side, and you will see transverse waves travel down the Slinky. Push and pull one end back and forth, and you will see longitudinal waves travel down it.

If there is still some confusion, perhaps a well-known physics teacher on the list could state things more clearly than I, who have never taught acoustics. However, I am always willing to answer questions.

Richard
Keep answering! It's fascinating.

Now, how about the effect of temperature??

When it's a chilly room, I always have to push my tuning slide in - right? (or am I untalented and desperate for an honest teacher?)? Is it that cooler air is denser and the waves are closer together?

John Pirtle
I don't want to bore the list too much, but here we go.

Yes. Cooler air is denser, so sound travels slower, so the wavelength corresponding to a given frequency is shorter.

For every drop in temperature of 1 degree C, the speed of sound in air decreases by about 2 ft/second. Suppose your horn is 12.48 ft long, corresponding to frequency (1090 ft/sec) / (12.48 ft) = 87.31 Hz (F). Now cool the air in the horn by 10 C. The speed of sound is now 20 ft/sec less, or 1070 ft/sec. Let's assume that the length of the horn doesn't change (is thus true?). The new frequency is 1070/12.48 = 85.7 Hz. By golly, you're way flat!

How much will you have to compensate with your tuning slide? You want to bring the frequency back up to 87.31 Hz. The wavelength of 87.31 Hz in the cooler air is (1070 ft/sec) / (87.3 Hz) = 12.26 ft. So, the horn needs to shorten by 12.48 ft - 12.26 ft = 2.6 inches. The slide needs to go in 1.3". That's a lot!

Now let's test the assumption. How much will the horn change in length? The coefficient of thermal expansion for brass is about 1.9 x 10^-5. That is, for every 1 degree C drop in temperature, the horn shortens by about 19 parts per million. So, if we cool the instrument by 10 C, it will shrink by 190 ppm, or by 12.48 ft * 190/1000000 = 0.03 inches. Far less than the effect of air temperature (and in the other direction).

BTW, if you check the numbers above, you'll find rounding errors here & there which won't affect the basic results. Someone else (Chris?) can explain how sound actually resonates inside a horn.

Richard
Of course when the air enters the horn it is at body temperature, and cools as it progresses through the wrap until it reaches 'horn temperature'. I'm not sure how far in this would be, but it would moderate the effect to some degree. 10 degrees C is about 18 degrees F, and I've certainly played over that temperaure range (seasonal variation) without having to move my slide 1.3".
Chris
Herb Foster very kindly pointed out a stupid error I made in my last message regarding sound waves:
I hope you didn't confuse the issue with the violin statement. Of course, very little sound is produced by the string pushing the air. The vibrations travel down the bridge and down to the back, where most of the sound is radiated, both directly and into the body and through the f holes.
Of course, Herb is absolutely correct. I don't know where my mind was, but it must not have been on the right subject.

The moral is - don't believe everything you read.
A second one is - proofread everything you write.

Richard
Thanks to Chris Stratton for pointing out an important omission in my description of the effect of room temperature on horn pitch:
Of course when the air enters the horn it is at body temperature, and cools as it progresses through the wrap until it reaches 'horn temperature'. I'm not sure how far in this would be, but it would moderate the effect to some degree. 10 degrees C is about 18 degrees F, and I've certainly played over that temperaure range (seasonal variation) without having to move my slide 1.3".
I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised at the 1.3" also, but didn't follow through with thinking about it. If we make a guess that the air reaches "horn temperature" only by the time it reaches the bell, then we'd need to push the tuning slide in half as far, or 0.6". That seems much more reasonable, and I'll bet even that's an overestimate.

During our intial warm-up, we're also changing the temperature of the horn itself, so by the time we're ready to tune to others, the slide will likely not have to go in nearly as far as it would while the instrument was dead cold.

Richard
To give a contribution to the comments of Richard and Chris: in stead of having to pull out the tuning slide 1.3" isn't it more logical that the other players will be in a lower pitch as well? Therefore the difference in pitch would only be to an absolute A=440 but not as dramatic in the orchestra.
Erwin Bous
That is probably true for brass, but I *think* that strings (and woodwinds?) go sharp in a cooler room. ?? So intonation havoc is truly wrought. Am I right oh physics learned ones?

I do know for certain that woodwinds squeak more because they can use the "cold room" excuse. :)

John Pirtle
Richard,

Thanks for the numbers and the conversion to slide length. I thought it was very interesting. I don't think that the rounding will be a problem as five out of four people have problems with fractions anyway.

Later,

Stephen Pearce
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Acoustics of the Horn

One aspect of being a horn player that fascinates me is the acoustics of how the things work.

I have a couple of questions for the group.

  1. Split/missed notes; what is actually happening when we try to "start up" a horn on a high note?

    If we do it well we produce from thin air - say - a high F (for example Bruckner 4 opening solo) and if things go wrong a different note appears. I have pondered the theory that to "start up" a horn on a high harmonic we have to pass through all the others to get to it and if our lips are not stimulating the correct frequency through the correct tension, air pressure etc, it results in a missed note being produced.

  2. Tuning notes; how is it possible - in physics terms - to change the pitch produced by a set length of horn by adjusting lip tension ? how do our lips drive the horn away from its resonant frequency ?
Split/missed notes; what is actually happening when we try to "start up" a horn on a high note?

You can buzz just about any pitch you want on your mouthpiece, because it exhibits no real resonances in the normal playing range.

You could also buzz any arbitrary pitch on 'horn' made from an infinitely long piece of tubing.

When you start a note on a real horn, at first the instrument does look like an infinitely long tube to the sound waves produced by your lip. This sound wave travels down the tube at around 345 meters per second, and then reflects off the bell flair and your hand. A small amount of the sound energy leaks out into the room, but most returns back up the tube.

Not until this wave returns do your lips get to find out if they are playing an actual note on the horn, or just some arbitrary pitch. If they are vibrating at one of the overtone resonances of the horn, then the returning sound wave will be timed to help their vibration. But if they are out of phase, it will work against them - and tend to push you towards the nearest resonant note.

So if your initial attack comes at slightly the wrong frequency, people will hear whatever pitch you are buzzing for an instant before the sound reflects back to your lips. Then there will be several round-trip times worth of audible arguments between your lips and the horn (and that can take a while on the F side). Finally, the horn wins, and a nice tone results - hopefully on the overtone you desired, but possibly on an undesired one that was accoustically closer to the pitch you started at.

Why can you bend notes? Your lips are actually quite massive in comparison to the energy contained in the sound waves they produce. With skill and effort, you can continue to fight against out-of-phase reflections, and perhaps wrestle the horn to a draw, thus acheiving some intermediate pitch between what the horns wants and what your lips would produce if they were free buzzing.

For more information, check out Arthur Benade's books: Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics [Buy this book from Amazon.com] if you can find it, or Horns, Strings, and Harmony [Buy this book from Amazon.com] for a less technical approach.

Tuning notes; how is it possible - in physics terms - to change the pitch produced by a set length of horn by adjusting lip tension ? how do our lips drive the horn away from its resonant frequency ?

As I understand it, the length of the vibrating air column in a horn is not the same as the physical length of the tube because the bell flare generates a "virtual tube end" somewhere beyond the bell. The position of this virtual tube end is not fixed so that there is no single resonant frequency for the horn, although the instrument construction means that certain positions are favoured. The resonator in a horn is our lips, and when we adjust lip tension we actually move the virtual tube end to adapt the resonant frequency to the lip frequency. If the actual tube end position coincides with a position favoured by the horn construction, the note is centred. There are limits to how much the virtual tube end will move, so as you lip further away from a note centre, you reach a point where you flip over to the next closest frequency, which is why it is so hard to do a smooth glissando on a non-trombone.

I'm not a physicist and I may be wrong, but then someone on the list will probably put me right.

This sound wave travels down the tube at around 345 meters per second, and then reflects off the bell flair and your hand.

Is this really true for an open tube? (It's easier if we think of an ideal straight tube to begin with, since the bell introduces all sorts of complications.) For a *closed* tube, yes: there will be a node at the closed end and the sound must be reflected back down the tube, escaping wherever there is an air outlet. But for an *open* tube, I've always thought of it as generating a one-directional standing wave with an antinode at the open end, driven by the vibration of the resonator and amplified by sideways reflection from the walls of the tube. I can't really see how the wave will be reflected from the open end. In the real horn, of course, there will be reflections from valves, bends, joints and right hand, but these must almost be regarded as defects rather than essential features. (Remember that trumpeters, trombonists and tubaists eliminate the right-hand reflection, and think of what happens if they use a mute that really does reflect the sound back down the tube.)

So in my model, an open tube resonates best at a frequency determined by the node-at-the-lips/antinode-at-the-open-end distance. You can bend the pitch because the resonance is *nearly* as good even when the antinode is slightly inside or slightly outside the open end - most of the cross-sectional area will still be vibrating. I think the horn works roughly as an open tube with the antinode beyond the bell (alternatively a closed tube with the node some way into the horn - a fundamental frequency of about 120 for concert Bb corresponds to a wavelength of a bit more than 3 m).

When you try to hit a high note on the horn, you try to buzz at the right frequency, i.e. at the pitch you are trying to hit. For the first 0.1 seconds or so, while the start of the wave is travelling down the horn, it doesn't "know" if this is a resonant frequency or not. But once the wave has reached the end of the tube, the conditions are established and the wave resonates for better or worse according to how close you were. So I believe a good horn-player will truly start at the right frequency, and not pass through all the other harmonics as Terry suggested.

The minor fact that you can quote reference works suggests that you may well be far more qualified to preach on this subject than I am. I would be interested to hear what you have to say about my ideas - take it as honest discussion, not criticism of your contribution.

[ ... ] Your hand basically catches those high notes and deflects them back into the horn - which is why the horn works so much higher in its overtone series than the other brass instruments, and why hand position is more critical in the upper register.

But you can play high notes on the horn without the hand. Tony Halstead showed me how to improve my high notes by placing my hand flat to the inside of the bell, thus constricting the opening less. What makes the horn work in the higher overtone range is mainly the small mouthpiece, helped by the narrow bore of the lead pipe. If you adapted a horn mouthpiece to a bass tuba by fitting a tapered lead pipe, you could make it produce sounds in the usual horn register.

[ ... ] But a horn actually has one closed end - your lips almost completely block it. A cylindrical tube the length of a horn will not produce the harmonic series you want. Instead, it will overblow only on odd overtones somewhat like a clarinet, meaning that the 1st interval is not an octave, but an octave and a half.

The common parlance, that closed pipes produce only the odd overtones, is useful for indicating the reason for the relationship of the resonant frequencies, since one can analyse the closed pipe of constant cross-section as half an open pipe of twice the length with a node at the centre. However, when considering the design of a musical instrument, this way of thinking can mislead. If you were to make an oboe of rubber so that you could gradually distort its shape from conical to parallel while blowing it, the ratio of the frequencies of the first two modes of vibration would gradually change from 2 to 3 so, in a certain sense, the octave on the oboe corresponds to the twelfth on the clarinet. The horn consists of a mixture of tapered and parallel bore so adjusted that the modes give harmonically related frequencies in the ratios 2:3:4:5:6 etc. However, making a tapered lead pipe and flared bell combine with a parallel middle section to give the same acoustic effect as the plain conical alpenhorn is a bit of a trick which works best when the length of parallel tubing is somewhere near the middle of the range (about F on the usual double horn in F/Bb). For lesser amounts of parallel tubing, the overall flare is excessive and the overtone series becomes compressed, while for extra amounts the characteristics of the instrument move in the direction of the straight tube and the overtone series expands. This is why low notes on the Bb horn tend to be sharp. Of course we bring them into tune with hand and lip and are scarcely conscious of the effect most of the time, but playing to a frequency meter in the middle of the note with a constant hand position will show it clearly. The converse effect, that low notes on the C and B basso horns (1+3 and 1+2+3 on the F horn) are flat, is compensated by the combination tubing length being slightly too small.

[ re hosepipe horns ] But it if the flair is even greater - like a horn, the fundamental will rise to almost that of an both-ends-open tube, dropping right into place as an in-tune pedal note an octave below the 1st overtone.

According to Benade (it may have been in a Scientific American article called "Physics of Brasses") the true fundamental of horns is about a third flat. Pedal notes are in tune because second and third harmonics of the lip motion lock into the second and third resonances of the tube. The fundamental being a different frequency probably contributes to the instability of these notes: on both the open Bb of my Bb and F alto Alexander and on my natural horn crooked in Bb alto, there are good pedal Bbs which (with lip alone) I can easily push down to Ab, with difficulty to G, and no further.

As an exercise, play 3rd space C on the F horn. Draw the corners FORWARD until the note slips over to a D.

No problem so far.

Now go back and increase the velosity of the air. It should do the same thing.

This is the part I'm not convinced about. If I do this, and ensure that my embouchure doesn't tighten (and I ensure I don't increase pressure) then I just get a louder C. If, however, I think D then it slips over but I'm sure the very act of thinking D causes a tightening. (I will admit that I think less tightening is needed than in the first part.)

If you are correct then it must be that whilst increasing air velocity and not thinking D, I am in fact relaxing my embouchure to maintain a C but I can't feel this happening. If increasing air can change the note then it should, I think, also happen with whistling but here again all that happens is a louder note.

Am I totally mistaken or is my embouchure/breathing different?

I would be interested to know if there is scientific evidence (or a theoretical basis) for increased air velocity alone increasing the pitch. It would seem to me that it's rather like expecting the pitch of a violin string to rise when the bow moves faster.

I send this with some feeling of trepidation since it might be construed as gross heresy, but I am genuinely puzzled.

Having thought about this subject and read the descriptions of different models put forward to describe what's going on I'm ready for more !!

Effective horn length:

The effective horn length (the length that is involved in the resonance of the note being considered) starts slightly inside the mouth - my thoughts as follows; imagine a 3m/9ft long rope stretched between two points, in order to resonate it without using to much energy I hold it 6 inches along from the end and cultivate the fundamental resonant frequency (each end still, and the middle moving) If I try to cultivate resonance from the fixed end nothing will happen, in this model we have to put energy into the resonator from within the resonators length.

Now, apply this model to the horn, our lips vibrate and they are part way down the resonating tube, this position could be variable - I would speculate that two things control this, one - our lip muscles, two - the air chamber inside the lips which could include mouth, throat, lungs etc. This variance could contribute to our ability to drive a horn away from its resonant frequency.

The bell end of the horn has been described best I think by Richard Merewether and I rehash briefly his model: The horn behaves as a quarter length resonator (the fundamental tone is four times the horns length) the combination of a horn bell flair and a well placed hand make the effective length change with pitch, the low notes effectively end deep in the bell, and as the pitch goes up this end point move towards the hand reaching it at about high G on the F slide.

Now the clever bit is that the quarter tone generator produces an even harmonics series which do not reinforce each other and by changing the effective length of the horn we shrink these into being an odd harmonic series which does reinforce itself, therefore when we play one note all the others can be present at a lower amplitude and it is these that give the horn its magnificent tone. Just think when four horns on open F slides play a C major chord how rich the chord is, now just imagine all the harmonics from all the horns interacting and reinforcing each other, you can feel this happening with your lips being exposed to the reflections traveling into the horn and your hand on the bell as it picks up the other players notes.

Starting up a horn:

When we start up a horn on a high note what happens ? Try this model:

Our lips are still, the air column is still, then we tense our muscles, blow and pop a series of packets of air into the horn, they come out at a particular rate and each one is at a high air pressure compared to the outside air, by controlling the air pressure we control the sound volume, by controlling the rate of packets released we control the pitch (frequency).

Now these pressure packets start traveling down the tube, when the first one gets to the end the horn starts to sound at the pitch we want BUT as it reaches the end some of the energy is reflected back as a returning pressure packet (this assumes that the end of the tube reflects) this returning packet then keeps hitting the outgoing packets, if they interfere to produce a standing wave than we have a note, if they interfere destructively then we have a split/clamp/flubb. With a standing wave which extends slightly past our lips we can make it go louder or quieter, higher or lower, all with lip control.

Driving the horn off it resonant frequency:

I can see two possible models for this:

Using the "lips within the effective tube length" model we may be able to alter how far along the virtual tube our lips are thus altering the length and the resonant frequency.

Or we can force the horn off its resonant frequency a little, I suspect that this results in a more limited amplitude (we can only do this at lowish volumes) and that the resonance of other harmonics is disrupted (this will make the tone less rich/intense)

If anybody has got this far without hitting the Delete key thank you for reading my efforts. I must thank Charles Turner, Chris Stratton, Howard Gilbert, Francis Markey, and Bob Marsteller for giving me new perspectives on horn acoustics.

  1. He wanted to know where the nodal points are in a horn, so that he could clamp the tubing or put braces in those places.

    The positions of these points depends on the frequency of the note you are playing, so your question annot be answered. Besides, it is not clear that clamping the tubing would have much effect. It would make the tubing a little more rigid; but the tubing is already pretty rigid.

  2. Where are the nodal points within reach of the hand?

    Well,now you have to tell me what you mean by the expression "nodal" point. It turns out the the open end of a tube is a PRESSURE NODE and it is a displacement antinode. This means the the pressure doesn't vary much, but you have a maximum in the displacements of the oscillating air. So let's assume you mean a pressure node. Then you have to deal with the fact that the actual end of the horn and the effective end are in different places. Basically, the effective end of the horn is closest to your hand at high frequencies, say starting around high G.

    Now tell me this: what is the point of "reaching" a node with your hand?

  3. According to my sources, the speed of sound in carbon dioxide is 23% lower than the speed of sound in air at the same temperature. So if your horn were filled with carbon dioxide, along with your lungs, the the frequencies you play would be 23% lower. My guess is that if half the gas in your horn and lungs were carbon dioxide, then the speed of sound would be 11 or 12% lower than usual. These decreases in speed yield proportional decreases in the frequency of the horn. A quarter stop lowers the frequency by 2.8%. This would happen if your lungs and the horn contained 12% carbon dioxide. (Algebraic details on request.)

    I have occasionally played horn after breathing helium. This causes the playing frequencies to rise. Never do this with your horn unless you have padded ceilings in your house. I have also studied the effect of filling a Whoopee Cushion with helium, but you didn't ask about that.

  4. Will the density of air change whether the horn acts as a half-length or a quarter-length resonator?
    No, these aspects (neither of which is a precise description of horn behavior) depend only on the shape of the air column. Of course, if the density of air is sufficiently low, you don't have sound any more. It is strange how few marching bands perform on the moon, considering how beneficial the vacuum is to the acoustical output of these orgaizations.
  5. Would low density air make high notes easier?

    I don't know. When you blow out through your lips, the emerging air makes forces on the lips and sets them into oscillation. If air density were less, then the air would likely makes smaller forces on the lips. So this might make it a little harder to play. When a high pressure puff goes down the horn, reflects from the bell, and returns to your lips, it makes a force on the lips that controls the frequency. But this force depends on the amplitude of the pressure puff, not on the density of the air.

    At any rate, your idea of going mountain climbing just so you can play high notes may be misguided. But I recall that several listmembers have performed the Long Call in the Andes, so maybe they can answer this.

Howard Gilbert wrote at length that when he attempted to move from C to D on the F horn by increasing air velocity, that he achieved a louder C, and his lips opened somewhat.

Therein lies the rub. Differentiating between air velocity and air volume. Farkas, Jacobs et al discovered that a given note at a given decibel level requires the same amount of air pressure (velocity), measured with an anemometer inside the mouth, on all brass instruments. Higher notes require higher air pressure, whereas lower notes require greater air volume. How can you raise air velocity without increasing air volume? Two ways: control the size of the aperture (embouchure opening) and control the size of the air stream. Farkas experimented with controlling the air stream with the glottis. A less tension-provoking method is to control it with the position of the tongue: low "ah" for low register, high "ee" for upper register.

All of these methods are interrelated, and should be used in conjunction with one another. My separating them was only for demonstration purposes.

The effective horn length (the length that is involved in the resonance of the note being considered) starts slightly inside the mouth - my thoughts as follows; imagine a 3m/9ft long rope stretched between two points, in order to resonate it without using to much energy I hold it 6 inches along from the end and cultivate the fundamental resonant frequency (each end still, and the middle moving) If I try to cultivate resonance from the fixed end nothing will happen, in this model we have to put energy into the resonator from within the resonators length.

Whilst this is true of the rope, I can't see why energy shouldn't be put in at the end of a resonating air column; I am remembering elementary physics experiments where a vibrating tuning fork is placed at the end of a glass cylinder and water run our until resonance is achieved.

On the other hand, if we look at instruments where the mouth cavity cannot be involved eg transverse flute and organ pipe we see the point of energy input IS within the resonator. In addition I remember reading (about 10 years ago) and article which suggested that the baroque period trumpet players used the oral cavity to get extra notes. Just because energy can be put in at the end (I think?) doesn't mean necessarily that it is in the case of the horn.

Now, apply this model to the horn, our lips vibrate and they are part way down the resonating tube, this position could be variable - I would speculate that two things control this, one - our lip muscles, two - the air chamber inside the lips which could include mouth, throat, lungs etc. This variance could contribute to our ability to drive a horn away from its resonant frequency.

This suggests that varying the tongue position while playing is more related to changing the oral cavity volume than, the usual reason given, of changing air speed although it will do that also. I don't think much of the lungs would be involved; if I remember correctly the bronchia quickly branch into very narrow tubes.

What part does the constriction in the mouthpiece play in this model?

I've always heard the the horn is a half length resonator (the fundamental tone is 2 times the effective horn length). Do the calculation yourself: Start with A at 440 cycles per second (fourth space written E treble clef). Then go down three and a half octaves to get to the fundamental tone. Divide the speed of sound (1090 feet/sec) by this number to wind up with 25 feet, a little over twice the 12 foot length of the open F horn. Therefore, the horn is a half length resonator.

With the basic horn physics out of the way, we can procede with some more interesting aspects. Without solving the problems let me just pose a few interesting problems for horn physics students. (Answers not supplied):

  1. Where are the best nodal points along the tubing that could be strongly clamped, braced, or patched to strengthen harmonic vibrations?
  2. Approximately where are the nodal points within reach of the right hand inside the bell?
  3. In Lowell Greer's recent interview reprinted on this list he made a passing observation that as our lungs become increasingly full of carbon dioxide the pitch goes down. What concentration of carbon dioxide would it take to drop the pitch by a quarter tone.
  4. A trick question: Would the density of air blown through the horn affect whether the horn is a half length or quarter length resonator?
  5. Would low density air blown through the horn make high notes easier to produce?
I've always heard the the horn is a half length resonator (the fundamental tone is 2 times the effective horn length). Do the calculation yourself: Start with A at 440 cycles per second (fourth space written E treble clef). Then go down three and a half octaves to get to the fundamental tone. Divide the speed of sound (1090 feet/sec) by this number to wind up with 25 feet, a little over twice the 12 foot length of the open F horn. Therefore, the horn is a half length resonator.

No. Because your lips essentially close off the mouthpiece end of the horn, it must operate as a quarter wavelength resonator. However the nature of the flare throughout the instrument (not just the bell) changes the effective resonant frequencies of these modes. The result is an overtone series very, very similar to what you would get by operating a piece of cylindrical tubing of the same length as a half wave (open both ends) resonator - hence the popular misconception that brass instruments operate as half-wave resonators.

Further, the first overtone of the tube (ie, the next note above the fundamental) although it may be twice the fundamental frequency is not produced by half wave oscillation within the tube. Rather it is really a 3/4 wave mode which happens to occur at twice the frequency of the flare-modified 1/4 wave fundamental.

4. A trick question: Would the density of air blown through the horn affect whether the horn is a half length or quarter length resonator?

No, the nature of the resonator depends essentially only on the termination of its ends. Changing the speed of sound by changing the gas in question may change the overtone mode it operates at for any given driving frequency, but the horn remains essentially a quarter-wave resonator in relation to its (new) fundamental pitch.

Harry Bell is correct. The wave length of the lowest F on the piano (our open F horn fundamental) is 25.8 feet, twice the length of the horn. The wave length of C above the staff (concert F) is 1.6 feet.
Harry Bell is correct. The wave length of the lowest F on the piano (our open F horn fundamental) is 25.8 feet, twice the length of the horn. The wave length of C above the staff (concert F) is 1.6 feet.

Not really. The "free space" wavelength in air has these values, but inside a flaring horn variations in the phase velocity of sound make the wave much longer; hence the horn operates on the overtones of a quarter wave resonator.

According to my sources, the speed of sound in carbon dioxide is 23% lower than the speed of sound in air at the same temperature. So if your horn were filled with carbon dioxide, along with your lungs, the the frequencies you play would be 23% lower. My guess is that if half the gas in your horn and lungs were carbon dioxide, then the speed of sound would be 11 or 12% lower than usual. These decreases in speed yield proportional decreases in the frequency of the horn. A quarter stop lowers the frequency by 2.8%. This would happen if your lungs and the horn contained 12% carbon dioxide. (Algebraic details on request.)

The lungs take oxygen and replace it with carbon dioxide and some water. We mostly burn sugars with the proportions C, 2H, O according to an equation like:

CH20 + O2 -> CO2 + H2O,
so in principle each oxygen molecule can be replaced by one CO2. The amount of H2O is not calculable, since it has both other sources (what we drink) and other excretory routes. However, it is a common experience that exhaled breath contains a fair amount of water vapour. Densities of gases are in proportion to their molecular weights, which are:
O2 : 32; N2 : 28; CO2 : 44; H2O : 18
Thus CO2 and H2O in equal molecular numbers have an average molecular weight of 31, very close to that of oxygen. Even if no water vapour were exhaled, the nitrogen (N2), which constitutes over 3/4 of dry air by weight, would be unaffected.

I believe that a proportion of CO2 in the lungs as high as 5% (ie replacing about 1/4 of the oxygen) is very uncomfortable. Of course professional wind instrumentalists become tolerant of higher quantities than the general public.

My conclusion: pitch may be very slightly lowered (or raised because of water vapour) at the end of a long note, but you need to measure the chemical composition of exhaled breath to see how much and in what direction: calculations can't tell you.

1. He wanted to know where the nodal points are in a horn, so that he could clamp the tubing or put braces in those places.

The positions of these points depends on the frequency of the note you are playing, so your question annot be answered. Besides, it is not clear that clamping the tubing would have much effect. It would make the tubing a little more rigid; but the tubing is already pretty rigid.

It seems to me that putting some lead tape or something at the midpoint of the horn's length (about 6 feet in) might be interesting to experiment with. Buttressing this spot would reinforce all even harmonics from 4 up.

2. Where are the nodal points within reach of the hand?

Well,now you have to tell me what you mean by the expression "nodal" point. It turns out the the open end of a tube is a PRESSURE NODE and it is a DISPLACEMENT ANTINODE. This means the the pressure doesn't vary much, but you have a maximum in the displacements of the oscillating air. So let's assume you mean a pressure node. Then you have to deal with the fact that the actual end of the horn and the effective end are in different places. Basically, the effective end of the horn is closest to your hand at high frequencies, say starting around high G.

Now tell me this: what is the point of "reaching" a node with your hand?

The motivation for this question was a follow-up on Chris Leuba's observation that a historic baroque horn had worn lacquer spots deep inside the bell across from the normal hand position (toward the body). He took this as evidence that the horn players of the time touched spots inside the bell in addition to the standard hand positions. Mr. Leuba's other observation was that he could get a very stable, in tune A above the staff with open B flat horn by touching the bell at a certain spot inside the bell.

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Alan Civil Obituary

21 Mar 1989

Reproduced from The Daily Telegraph without permission

By JOHN WADE

Alan Civil, who has died aged 60, was one of Britain's most distinguished horn players and a splendidly Falstaffian character.

A former Army band-boy, he was a pupil of Aubrey Brain (father of Dennis) and of Willy von Stemm in Hamburg before going on to become principal horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 22 years until retiring in 1988. He had a full and rounded tone, as can be heard in his recordings of Mozart concertos and especially of Britten's Serenade with the tenor Robert Tear and the Northern Sinfonia.

In his orchestral work Civil played on a modern German Alexander double horn, but used a single model for concertos and other solo works and also had a collection of natural horns which he used for early music, in which he had a special interest.

Alan Civil was born at Northampton in 1928 and joined the Army as a band-boy. He used to tell the story of how he changed from his Army uniform into white tie and tails in the train on his way to do his first concert for Sir Thomas Beecham.

The conductor recruited him to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1953 to 1955 as second horn to Dennis Brain and Civil became principal in 1954 when Brain joined the Philharmonia. In 1955, when the Philharmonia toured America under Herbert von Karajan, Civil went with them as third horn and remained with this orchestra after the tour as co-principal with Dennis Brain. In 1957 the Philharmonia gave three concerts at the Edinburgh Festival. Driving back to his home after the final concert on the Saturday, Brain was killed when his car crashed. The orchestra was due to record Strauss's opera Capriccio with Wolfgang Sawallisch in London on the Monday and Civil took over as first horn. It is his fine playing which is heard where the horn has a particularly important and exposed part in the final scene.

When in 1964 Walter Legge suspended the Philharmonia and attempted to disband it, Civil was offered a post with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra by Karajan. He was the first player from outside Germany ever to have been honoured by such an approach and he would have accepted had not the Philharmonia players decided to become self-governing and re-form as the New Philharmonia.

Civil became one of the first members of the governing body of five players and stayed with the orchestra until 1966, when he became first horn of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a professor at the Royal College of Music. Besides his orchestral work Civil was a member of the London Wind Players, the Music Group of London, the London Wind Quintet and even played 'obligato' horn with the Beatles on one occasion. He also formed the Alan Civil horn Trio and from 1979 was president of the BRITISH horn SOCIETY. He had a profound knowledge of the history and development of his instrument. He had most of the major concertos in his repertoire, several of which he recorded, and he toured as a soloist in America, Europe and Asia. Civil was also a composer before his orchestral career began in earnest. Among his works are a symphony for brass and percussion (1950), a wind quintet and wind octet (both 1951) and a horn trio (1952).

He was appointed OBE in 1985. Civil is survived by three sons and three daughters.

It would be unrealistic to gloss over the fact that Alan Civil enjoyed a drink. Apart from the Savage Club in which he felt he could truly relax, he could match anyone's knowledge of pubs and landlords.

If he discovered what he called 'a real pub' - with good beer, no canned music and no gambling machines - he would delight in sharing it. He cared about food and wine and the prospect of a concert tour abroad could either fill him with joy or despondency, depending on the time available to spend in good restaurants.

He played under the greatest conductors and yet had an encyclopaedic knowledge of radio dance-bands and comedy shows. His humour was acerbic, yet he could quote from memory an act of Max Miller's seen in a music hall a couple of decades previously.

It was sometimes difficult to reconcile the eminent international horn-player with the jolly chap playing the piano, leading chorus singing. He was that rare person who enjoyed listening as well as talking. Alan was the retailer and subject of numerous Savage anecdotes, such as the time he arrived fresh from an Underground station where a busker had been playing the French horn accompanied by one of Civil's own recordings. Once on a train bound for Leeds he sat opposite a young girl who was wearing headphones from which hissed a sound unacceptable for a long journey. When asked to turn the volume down she refused, adding that it was a free country. Alan proceeded to take his horn from its case and to play Mozart loudly. The girl then left the carriage to the applause of the other occupants.

Probably ©The Daily Telegraph

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Alexander Horns

Angelika (or Tom?) was asking Alexander 103s, noting that although they are the standard orchestral horn in Germany and very popular in the UK, they are seldom seen in the States, especially in US professional orchestras. She/he wonders why this is so. Let me speak from the point of view of an active amateur.

The problem may be that Alexs vary so much from horn to horn, from the truly sublime to the utterly ridiculous. I've played at least 20 103s since the time I entered music school in 1972. Of those 20, I've only liked three or four. Of those three or four, two were (and are) absolutely superb instruments. I've owned them both. One is a wonderful 70 to 80 year old 103 that I still own and play in chamber settings and the other is excellent 103 built in the late 1960s (I sold it a few years ago to a good friend). I can't say enough good things about these two horns. They speak very easily--effortless pianissimos. Intonation is correct throughout the range. They produce liquid slurs and fluid legatos. They have that inimitable Alexander sound--how can I describe it? Velvety, full, a dark core with hints of brightness around the edges. Brighter as the volume increases, but never losing the velvety, dark center.

Well, that's the two that I've owned, leaving us with at least 18 other horns to consider. Several were OK--not good, not bad, not worth buying. The rest, it pains me to say, were pretty awful, conforming to two, three, four, or more of the negative stereotypes that we on this side of the Atlantic have all heard about Alexs--stuffy, out of tune, lacking a low range, unreliable in the high range, incapable of a true fortissimo, etc. and so on. I suspect that this is the way many Americans think about Alexs because they've never come across one of the good ones. (I have a horn tech friend who claims the Germans keep the good ones for themselves; the British get second choice; the Yanks get the runts of the litter.)

I know that every manufacturer produces horns that are better or worse than others of the same model. Yamaha 667s do not all play exactly alike, or Holton 179s, or Conn 8Ds, or Paxman 25s... Even Lawsons vary. But in my experience other horn makers turn out instruments that are much more consistent from horn to horn than Alexander does. It's odd, but I can honestly say that the best professional quality horn I've ever played and the worst were both Alex 103s.

I'm in the process of buying an old Alex 103 at the moment and as I've already told him, I've kind of fallen in love with it! My first teacher played on an Alex as well, so I learned to play in an 'Alex style'. They are great, with loads of little quirks and characteristics, like the upside down thumb valve, or the gap big enough to fit your leg through (well, almost!) below the third valve! Not only that, but they sound great and the one that I'm getting is bang in tune most of the time, with an equal tone in all of the ranges, which are firm and responsive. What can I say? It's cool!!
Could anybody tell me which model Alexander horn is the most popular in Germany (i.e., used by Berlin Philharmonic members, etc.) I'm looking into buying an Alex but don't know which model is which. Thanks in advance.
Ethan Bearman
I think that model 103 is the most popular in Germany. According to the catalog, Alexander made first instrument of this model in 1907 and patented the device of its rotary valve on 30 May 1909. Model 101 is similar design but has large bell. They also produce Knopf / Geyer wrap horns: models 1103, 1104(with gestopf key), 200(anniversary model) and 503(student horn).
Toru Ikeno
"I think that most British listers would agree that the Alexander 103 is considered THE classic horn over here. I gather that the first one imported into Britain in the early '30s was owned by Francis Bradley (son of Adolf Borsdorf)."

"Three cheers for Alexander!! I have been in love with their horns since my college days in the 1960's, but never had enough money to buy one. When I finally got one in a trade twenty years later (for a Finke Triple), it played well, but not as well as I remembered. A friend had just put a Lawson pipe on her Alexander, so I was able to try and buy her old Alex pipe. The horn now played great."

I studied with Francis Bradley at the G.S.M.in London in the early sixties and can confirm that the Alex 103 was THE horn of choice then. It was not considered a classic then even though it has been around for a long time in Germany - (it was patented in 1912, I believe). At that time there was a lot of experimenting with Bb/A and descant horns but this never replaced the trusty old double horn. Bb/A horns with an F extension were favoured by some players. James Diack former principal of the London Mozart Players had a Bb/A Alex with the short quick action valve levers which were very fast.

When I needed to upgrade my instrument Francis got me Patrick Strevens' 103 which was built in the late 40's. It was 12 years old and I paid 100 pounds for it. As Wilbert Kimple found, you can get great value if you are willing to wait for the right instrument and seek a little advice from your hornplaying friends.

I virtually wore out the lead pipe until it was almost paper thin and had to have a new one installed by Paxmans. Lead pipes just as bocals (crooks) in bassoons and cor anglais are very important to the tone and response of an instrument so dont mess with them unless you really have a problem. I have now virtually worn the bell out but it still plays beautifully. I think the hand engraved german silver caps are really what distinguishes the old 103's.

Before you all go rushing off to find old 103's remember that as with all handmade instruments each instrument will have its own characteristics so try them out before you invest. I believe someone on this list said that one of the best and one of the worst horns he had ever played was an Alexander. There are great makers and great horns - in the end its the horn that counts - given that the player is a constant :)

Regards to all

Francis Pau
"I think the hand engraved german silver caps are really what distinguishes the old 103's."

I own an Alex 103 built in the 60's. It has the hand engraved caps. I have a "94 catalog from Alexander which shows the engraved caps on the new models. I agree that it is a very distinguishing characteristic of the Alex horns. COOL!

Bill Ostler
Some years ago a teacher friend of mine brought his 103 to me together with 3 Lawson leadpipes and after a considerable amount of testing decided which one he wanted fitting. He also asked me if I could get a Conn 8D bell for him. It duly arrived from the USA and I cut it to make a screw bell and fitted it to the 103. The over all effect on the instrument was , well to quote the owner, 'Brilliant, just brilliant'. The inonation was great, especially in the upper register and the top Bb and B which were very bad on the original were both sound as a bell. The owner, Irvin Rosenthall, has since passed away but I know there were quite a number of horn players who wanted to get their hands on it. I tried the Alex leadpipe on my Yamaha 664 and found it opened up my top register, so if fitted it and its been there for 20 years. I hope some one finds these comments interesting.
Tony Crosse
(retired brass teacher and brass instrument repairer.)
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Alexander Serial Numbers

There aren't serial numbers on Alexanders. If you need one for insurance purposes, do as I did and have one put on. I used my social security number. I don't know what you have over there, but there's got to be something similar. That has the additional benefit of being a number you can remember.
The serial number should be on the back plate of the second valve. There should be five numbers, Hope you find it.
Someone posted a question about the age of an Alex 103 based on the serial number. You should know that Alexander has not affixed serial numbers to their instruments until just a few years ago... The serial number that was posted in the ad may very well be the last four digits of the previous owners social security number. If this is so- you can either find out the age from the owner, or wait until you can go to Mainz and show it to Herr Alexander, because there will be no way to date it. Sorry, but I hope that helps.
Andy (devoted Alexander player)

Just to muddy the waters concerning Alex serial numbers discussed recently, I have an 1104 that was purchased new from the workshop in Mainz in mid 1988. Not long after having it fitted with a Lawson leadpipe, I noticed a serial number was engraved on the third valve housing. This number is 6026. If it didn't originate in the Alex factory, one wonders from where it came. Perhaps the trick will be to ask the Alex people directly.

If any of the hornlist recipients, in addition to Ethen Bearman, might be interested in acquiring this horn, I'll be happy to provide the particulars via the internet.

Gordon Wileen
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Alexandre Horns

A local woodwind shop that is clueless to brass instruments has a horn marked Alexandre (not Alexander) is big letters down the bell throat with each letter on top of the next. At the bottom of this is says "made in italy." Anyone know anything about it? I think it's a double, but I can't remember. It's been a while since I last saw it, and I was just now asked to inquire about it. Thanks for any info!
Michael Hrivnak

This is what's known as a "stencil" instrument. It was made to be sold to an importer who could then have his own brand name "stenciled" onto the bell. Stencil instruments are usually of low quality and are sold into the school market. The confusion with Alexander is intentional.

The business of making and selling stencils continues. Take a look at the current Bach low brass catalog.

Bob Osmun
I believe Alexandre horns are similar to the Panasoanic video cameras that you can buy in so many fine electronic shops on 42 street.
Good Day,
Aleks Ozolins
Perhaps in the class of street corner Rolex watches, also. Reminds me of the enterprising Filipinos in late 1945 of bombed out Manila who ingeniously devised labels for hooch to sell to GIs who were staging for the invasion of Japan. They made rice whiskey and put it in bottles with such labels as: White House, Three Roses, Four Feathers, etc., etc. No trademark infringements there!
Mansur's Answer No. 2 re: Alexandre horns
Aleks,
Do the Alexandre horns still come with Lawsome leadpipes and Finker valves?
Leonarder
I'd say buy it! (j/k) Maybe musical instruments are like stamps or baseball cards, and if a mistake is found, especially a rare one, the value skyrockets! You might become a millionaire.
Keith D. Grush

Sorry to dissapoint, but there is no way that the "Alexandre" horn in question is an engraving error from the "Alexander" factory in Mainz. The description of the vertical printing of the name is all wrong for that. Alexander horns say "Gebr. Alexander" (Alexander brothers) and then "Mainz", not Italy.

For a picture of the design, see http://www.musik-alexander.de/ (Yes, it's in German, but a typical hornist's vocabulary is enough to navigate the site.)

There was a trumpet by that Alexandre outfit on Ebay a while back which generated similar questions. As with most unknown-name instruments, you have to evaluate it on its own merits (be especially careful in inspecting the valves) and decide if it is worth anything.
Chris
That's why I put the (j/k) in. That means joke. I was was being sarcastic. Sorry to dissappoint you.
Keith D. Grush
Alexander horns say "Gebr. Alexander" (Alexander brothers) and then "Mainz", not Italy.
I had been under the impression that "Gebr." was a title or label which is short for "Gebrauchsmuster", meaning industrial/registered design. Does anyone know for sure?
Carolyn
Gebr.=gebruder (the brothers)
Paul
p.s. I was warned about those "Alexandre" horns over thirty years ago.....cheap junque.

I saw one of those once. I think it is a rip. Simply trying to profit from Alexander's good name and reputation. The one I saw was a dog!

There has been some real junk come out of Italy; but Ceccarossi played a well- built Italian horn during his career. Sorry, but I don't recall the maker's name.

Paul Mansur

Dear Carolyn and bunch,

It's an abreviation and means "Brothers' as far as I know -

And this retirement/older player stuff is hitting very close to home!
Da Bear
"Alexandre" horns have apparently been around for some time. About 20 years ago a horn teacher (Don Hatch in Quincy, Il) warned me away from the Italian version - said they were poor quality and not at all comparable. Since he just happened to sell Alexander (German) horns, he clearly had a vested interest, but I always found his advice to be good.
Steve Godding

I don't understand why Alexandre horns have such a bad rep. The design is copied from a vintage pre World War II Krupse, and the instruments have been used by such outstadning solists as Dennis Brian and Phillip Farksa. I bought mine from Omsun, and it's a great playing hron. In addition, it's just a super instrument for throwing! Just ask Kenny Bestt.

Helpful hint: Unless you are prepared to run the risk that your Alexandre might land on your head, be very careful not to throw up.

Gotta go,
Cabagge
As always, Prof. Cribbage has penetrated to the hart of the matter. BTW, I thought it was Dennis Drain.
Ronald V. Rhodes
...and Phillip Fracas.
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Anthony Halstead

Has anyone ever heard of a horn player by the name of Anthony Halstead? I just bought a recording of the Britten Serenade with him playing and some other guy singing. I was just wondering if anyone has heard of him. If so, please tell me what you know. Thanks.

Tony Halstead is now one of the world's foremost players of the early horn, playing with the Hanover Band and other London 'period instrument' groups. He is also diversifying his career into conducting and harpsichord playing.

Originally a pianist, he comes from Salford and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music where he came under the influence of the great horn player and teacher Sydney Coulston and turned to a career as a horn player. He was successively principal horn in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra before specialising in the early horn. He is well known as a teacher (a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music) and lecturer for British Horn Society events etc. It is a pity that you chose to refer to the tenor as 'some other guy!'

I have been inspired by this sudden chat about Tony Halstead to share a couple of thoughts, as he may have been slightly underrepresented on the list.

There is much more to AH than a hand horn player. Last year, I shared a recording (live) of the Beethoven Sextet with Dennis Brain and Alan Civil with seven or eight members of the list. In my "notes" I stated how Civil was a poor candidate for the notorious second part and it was edited accordingly and he struggled gamely through. There was much more to the story than that, but, that is sufficient background.

I have in my collection a gem, The Beethoven Sextet recorded (live) 19 April 1981 with Michael Thompson and Tony Halstead, horns. Halstead's performance is no less than astounding on the second part. The finest I have ever heard, live or recorded. I can think of two or three commercial recordings of this piece you would throw in the trash if you heard this one, thanks to the artistry of Mr. Halstead.

Also, thank you to Mr. Mason for reminding everyone of Mr. Halsteads participation in the Tuckwell Videotape and, Significa last year. It was a lot of fun. Also, I don't believe that he has been with the Hanover Band (as a principal) for many, many, years. He has conducted though.

As long as we are hearing about this wonderful player, let me relate another amazing story:

Years ago, around 1979, I was working on my Master's at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Mr. Thomas Holden. Some artist (soprano or flutist, regretfully, I forget her name) was in town for a recital. We found out during the day of the recital that Mr. Halstead was touring with her doing the piano accompaniment.
Mr. Holden talked Mr. Halstead into doing an impromptu Master Class. As I was the graduate assistant in horn, I was asked to play. I brought in the Hindemith Sonata, but I had no accompanist on such short notice. Mr. Halstead said that was no problem as he would play the piano for me. I then stated I would have to go to my locker where the piano part was, but he said not to bother. He played the entire piece on the spot from memory. I heard no mistakes!

We all know by know that Anthony Halstead is an excellent pianist, hand-horn player, intellectual guy and so on. Here are a couple more goodies:

He is also a baroque expert and conductor. I read in yesterday's local newspaper here in Uppsala that his newly released recording of Drottningholms Music of Roman with the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra (Naxos label) is no. 14 on the Swedish top CD lists and is the fastest climber on the list for the past week!
He is also responsible for the page in Farquharson Cousins book where he lists 50 valid fingering combinations on double horn for a 4-note figure in Strauss Don Juan...

People unfamiliar with his playing might want to check out his recordings of the Mozart concerti, the Weber Concertino (Nimbus), or (my personal favorite) Haydn 31 (L'Oiseau-Lyre 430082-2).

As someone has already mentioned, Anthony Halstead is not only a fabulous horn player, he is also a fine pianist. Back when Walter Hecht was in his entrepreneurial mode, he offered us (and I bought) a videotape of Barry Tuckwell playing the Beethoven sonata on hand horn (among other pieces). The piano player is none other than A. Halstead. But Halstead's greatest claim to fame is that he was the answer to one of Walter's Significa questions about a year ago.

BTW, The Horn Call published a lengthy interview with him in one of the 1996 issues. He's clearly a true intellectual, very thoughtful, very well read, and one of those musicians who's as comfortable expressing himself with words as with his instrument.

This performer is one of the absolute BEST players of the Natural Horn. Have a listen to the following: Mozart Horn Concertos and EMajor Fragment; Anthony Halstead & the Hanover Band (all period instruments); NIMBUS Records compact disc, NI 5104. Hear what the Horn was supposed to sound like, Natural Horn mouthpiece and all!
When Halstead was a member of London Symphony, he had also worked with Paxman and developed a series of mouthpieces. Halstead-Chidell Screw-Rim Mouthpiece is made of solid nickel silver(not plated). Original Range: 18.50 mm internal diameter, 5.20mm bore. "A" Range: internal diameter 17.50mm, 4.50mm bore. Each range has four rim widths and four cup depths. It means that there are 64 combinations possible.
In addition to all the accolades already given to Antony Halstead he has also composed for horn. If you want a REAL challenge try his "Suite for Solo Horn".
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